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24 hours of ‘Groundhog Day’ felt longer than 6 weeks of winter

I can confidently say that I have watched the movie “Groundhog Day” for the last time in a long time.

After attending the 24-hour “Groundhog Day” movie marathon at Gateway Film Center Feb. 2, my Bill Murray quota is maxed out. Twelve showings of the beloved holiday film is enough for me, thank you very much.

All week I had gone back and forth on whether I wanted to go, and after weighing the pros and cons, I decided to just go for it. After all, sleeping in a movie theater is something that isn’t socially acceptable when you aren’t living on a college campus, and even then you’ll get weird looks walking down High Street with your pillow and blanket in hand.

Eventually I decided I was too college-broke to miss out on 24 free movie passes, so I skipped my classes and headed to the Gateway on Wednesday around 11:30 p.m., claimed a good seat at the top of the theater with my friend Austin, and settled in.

The show sold out, which I could not believe. I guess I didn’t realize there were as many desperate movie buffs like myself out there, willing to subject themselves to a new, unrecognized level of torture to fund their movie-loving lifestyle. After the first showing, staff moved everyone to a larger theater. Thank God they did because it gave everyone room to spread out and sleep.

I can proudly say I didn’t know how “Groundhog Day” ended until showing No. 4. and I didn’t even watch the movie the entire way through until the sixth showing. Thanks to life in the Ohio State residence halls, I have the ability to sleep through ridiculous noise in a crowded room.

Aside from my concerns about not being able to sleep and the shortage of outlets to plug my laptop power chord into, I was really worried about how much money I would end up spending on food.

I packed a ton of snacks, but they weren’t going to be enough for the whole day. I decided to hold on to all my receipts, and at the end of the night assess how much I had spent in order to find out how much money I would really be saving from the 24 free passes.

Before the first showing I got some fries from Gooeyz, which cost me $6.39. Just before 8 a.m., and subsequently the fifth showing, I got a bagel from Panera for $2.59. Finally, before the ninth showing, I got a sandwich from Potbelly’s that cost $5.25. Somewhere in between all of these, I split a bag of popcorn which I’m pretty sure is $7, so I’ll call that $3.50 worth of food. If you add this together, I ended up spending $17.73 on food.

If every student-priced movie ticket at Gateway is $6, excluding 3-D movies which are $9 for students, I ate nearly three movies worth of food.

I had a theory that I wasn’t the only one shelling out more than just the $6 ticket charge to be able to stay at the theater all day, so I started to ask around.

“I went to Taco Bell and Wendy’s — probably spent about $25. I brought a lot of food with me as well — probably $10 worth,” said Chelsea Drouin, a second-year in anthropology.

Drouin, who spent much of the night camped out on the floor near the screen, attended the marathon last year as well, and used her last free pass for her 2012 marathon admission.

Other students spent money on food throughout the day, too.

Stephen Herchek, a first-year in criminology, said he spent about $15 on food throughout the course of the marathon.

Even though Herchek said he doesn’t go to many movies — “probably only three or four” a year — he was sure that his free passes would be used either by himself or friends.

Now a marathon survivor, Herchek had advice for anyone who plans to attend next year.

“Bring your own food, bring some people along and enjoy yourself,” Herchek said.

Drouin, the now two-year veteran, also had some words of wisdom.

“Bring a pillow, blanket and food, and prepare to sleep a lot or you’ll lose your sanity,” Drouin said.

The experience of watching the same movie with the same people for 24 hours straight isn’t something I can easily describe. After a while, everyone sort of gets into a routine. During the intro music, everyone claps to the same beat, repeats the same lines in unison, laughs both hysterically and ironically at the same parts, and says “awww” in the scene where Bill Murray is asking two drunks at a bar what they would do if their actions had no consequences. The first guy takes a shot while the second guy says, “That about sums it up for me.”

Everyone was pretty much on the same page — exhausted, incredibly bored and extremely amused by it all. However, by the end, everyone was mostly just thrilled to escape the loud, dark and somewhat smelly movie theater with 24 passes for free movies (with no expiration date) in hand. And, after hearing Bill Murray’s alarm clock play “I Got You Babe” for twelve straight showings, to delete every Sonny and Cher song ever made from their iTunes library.


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